Guarding Against Food-Borne Illness

With last year’s salmonella outbreak at the Taste of Chicago, some people may wonder what they can do to avoid getting sick at this year’s festival, which starts Friday. Experts suggest the following:

Observe food preparation: Festival-goers should eat food that is cooked to order, and should not buy from hawkers, who might be waving a plate of food that was prepared long ago.

Get it hot: Be aware of food temperatures–”if it’s supposed to be hot, make sure it’s served hot. The same goes for products that should be served cold, like milk.

Keep it clean: Keep an eye on the hygiene of the booth and the food handlers. Workers should wash their hands after coughing, sneezing, touching their hair, eating or handling money. Workers should also dry their hands with a paper towel, rather than a cloth, to avoid sharing germs.

Be a tough customer: Speak up if something seems amiss. Unsafe food-handling practices should be brought to the manager’s attention immediately or reported by calling the city’s 3-1-1 line.

Source: Chicago Department of Public Health; the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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